Whether you’re for or against the death pentalty, everyone agrees that to execute a prisoner is much more expensive than life imprisonment. Life imprisonment is about $800,000 per person. To execute, it costs $2.3 million. So executing a prisoner is about a 200% increase in costs.
An article at CNN here shows that most states are reconsidering the death penalty because it’s just too much of a burden to the taxpayers. The economy is going down nationally so states are finding creative ways to save money. From the article:
“Because of the downturn in the national economy, we are facing one of the largest budget deficits in our history,” state Sen. Carolyn McGinn, a Republican, said in an opinion piece posted on TheKansan.com Friday. “What is certain is we are all going to have to look at new and creative ways to fund state and community programs and services.”
The state would save more than $500,000 per case by not seeking the death penalty, McGinn wrote, money that could be used for “prevention programs, community corrections and other programs to decrease future crimes against society.”
So this isn’t a moral argument against the death penalty, but rather an economic one. Economically speaking, I think it makes sense.